A New Way to Close Puppy Mills!

by Mary Haight on January 5, 2011

Considering The Tax Shelter
Image by JD Hancock via Flickr

Innovation is part of what makes a country great.  And when it comes to finding a new way to close puppy mills, Indiana wins the Innovative State of the Month Award for using the pressures of tax law as a tool to bring them down.  Tax evasion is the crime, and the Attorney General (AG) is bringing cases against unlicensed dog breeders operating on a cash and carry basis. The AG presents the estimated amount of unpaid taxes, and seizes the dog and puppy assets of the business. HSUS partners with them to find placement in shelters for the animals.

At the beginning of the report the AG stated he never thought his office would be in the “puppy protection” business, and while he pledged to keep working to bust puppy mills, the issue to my eyes has become more of a “get the tax-cheats” than a “save animals from the cruelty of puppy mills” effort.  You can read more of this story by Maureen Hayden here and decide for yourself.

Being branded a tax cheat in a dog breeding business is not nearly as damning as being shut down for cruelty, but tax evasion will have to do as a quicker inroad to shuttering mills. While we  know that puppies and dogs do not live by food, water, and shelter alone, that meager measure prevails when inspectors look for signs of cruelty.  A re-education project for 2011…

The lack of importance, perhaps seriousness, attached to animals lives and the cruelty of puppy mills is an attitude conveyed in the use of the “going after tax cheats” slogan.  But maybe it’s more the knowledge that there are so many loopholes in the Animal Welfare Act that the millers who sell only on the internet or direct to the public are not subject to that law, therefore why not go the tax route? 

More States have moved to attempt to legislate puppy mills out of business, like Oklahoma and Missouri. State-wide legislation is a beginning. If enforcement is not what it should be(and is it ever?), at least it creates awareness among the public: It matters where you get your dog or cat.  

Pennsylvania claims that less than 40% of their commercial puppy mills remain since tough changes in animal laws were implemented in late 2009. That success will likely come to a screeching halt, however, based on a report from Brent Toellner at KC Dog Blog that discusses the economic shambles so many cities and States are in.  Toellner notes this will force animal welfare advocates to get smarter in finding the opportunities for success that often arise in hard times.   

Ok, fine – I’ll give up the purist view and get more excited about the tax-evasion route to closing down puppy mills. Go Indiana!  Any puppy mill news from your State, Province, Country?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Previous post:

Next post: